Date: 4th October 2008 at 1:49pm
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It was a real game of two halves at Edgeley Park last night as a resilient County side came form behind to shock 2nd placed Oldham.

A first senior goal by Paul Turnbull, a second in two games for ‘Pistol’ Peter Thompson, and a lob fit for the Premiership by centre half Michael Raynes sealed COunty’s first home win of the season.

Jim Gannon made three changes to the side that stole a draw at Whaddon Road last week – the most notable exclusion being former captain Gareth Owen.

Owen faces a disciplinary hearing after his spat with Gannon last week, and he was left out of the squad completely as Michael Raynes skippered the side.

Michael Rose came in for his first league start of the season in place of Johnny Mullins, while Tommy Rowe recovered from illness to take the place of Irishman Stevie Gleeson.

There was a big crowd, and a crackling atmosphere by the 6000+ County crowd. Groups of Athletic supporters had taken their place in the Cheadle End for the game. This was a recipe for disaster, as proved later in the night.

Lee Hughes was left out of the Oldham side due to injury, which would cheer the County fans up immensely as the former WBA man had struck 9 in 8 against the Hatters.

County attacked the Cheadle End in the first half, but actually attacking the Cheadle End is something that rarely happened in the first 10 minutes, as Oldham seemed to be camped in the County half in the opening exchanges.

Wanted man Chris Taylor nearly opened the scoring for Oldham, as he chipped a shot just over the bar and then forced a good save by fon Williams.

County forced their way into the game though, and Paul Turnbull sprayed a ball out wide to wing back Leon McSweeney, whose cross only just evaded Northern Irishman Peter Thompson.

Youngster James Tunnicliffe did well to recover from a slip and block a fizzing effort from former Rotherham man Chris O’Grady.

County were holding out, but Oldham did eventually take the lead in bizarre circumstances.

A corner came floating in from wide man Andy Liddell and as it dipped under the cross bar, Owain fon Williams missed his attempt at a punch completely and the ball sailed in.

A freak goal, but an utterly preventable one. One mistake and County were trailing. For a side not really hitting top form, to score two goals at home against 2nd placed Oldham was a tough ask.

The goal lit the fuse to the trouble that was bound to kick off in the Cheadle End. A few Oldham fans had already been thrown out, yet as the ball sailed into the net, a group of Athletic fans jumped up and celebrated the goal in front of the 5000 County followers in the CE.

As stewards and policemen ran to prevent it from the Main Stand and the Pop Side, almost half of the front of the Cheadle End literally piled down to the front of the stand and a group of County fans scrapped with the remainder of Oldham fans.

There were fists flying and the game as stopped for about 4 or 5 minutes while it was sorted.

Coppers and stewards tried to break it up, but they were all over the place as it turned a bit ugly. The Oldham fans were ejected, as were a few County fans

The police eventually diffused the situation, but it was really nasty as proved by a County fan who had half iof his ear bitten off.

Anyway, back to the important matters. Skipper Michael Raynes had a rare dodgy moment and Mark Allott was in. Deputising centre back Jimmy McNulty was on hand to block, and clear, the effort on goal.

As half time approached, County began launching balls into the 6 yard box, and Michael Raynes was unlucky to stand on the ball before getting his shot away.

County then played the perfect counter attack from an Oldham corner, as Anthony Pilkington broke.

It was 3 on one for the Hatters, and Pilks fired a cross field ball to Peter Thompson. ‘Thommo’s’ touch was too heavy though and the chance was gone before it arrived.

Half time then, and County were behind. It didn’t affect the atmosphere though, as the vociferous County fans roared the team back on to the field.

The ineffective Michael Rose was replaced by dangerman carl Baker at half time. This was an inspired substitution by Jim Gannon, as Baker’s threat turned the game on it’s head in the Hatters favour.

And two minutes after the resume in play, County were level with a really well worked goal.

Baker chargd forward with the ball and lofted a ball out wide to left back Tommy Rowe. Rowe whipped in a really good ball, and Peter Thompson flicked it on at the near post.

As ‘keeper Mark Crossley flapped at it, midfielder and former striker Paul Turnbull was on hand from three yards out to smash the ball home.

The County fans really did erupt, and the noise was deafening.

With all the songs from the book being sung now, County were passing and moving it with seemingly tremendous ease.

Chance after chance was carved out, with McSweeney, Dicker, Rowe and Thompson all going close.

County were given the odd reminder of Oldham’s threat, with O’Grady twice firing over from point blank range.

But, as the noise level increased from the fans, County were in front for the first time.

A long throw by James Tunnicliffe (our very own Rory Delap long throw-in specialist) caused havoc in the Oldham area. Michael Raynes, heading anything that moved, flicked on to Peter Thompson who volleyed home for his 2nd in two games.

Edgeley Park went crazyy as manager Jim Gannon applauded from the sidelines. Thompson and his team-mates celebrated with a 8 man ‘pile on’, showing what it meant to them.

Some of the football played by County after that was sublime.

The crowd ‘Ole!’-ed every pass, and the ball rarely left the ground or County’s possession in the closing stages.

The goal of the game though, and maybe even a contender for goal of the season, was something Arsenal would be proud of.

A 26-passing move lead to McNulty playing Michael Raynes in with a beautifully weighted long ball.

Raynes looked like he was hardly going to get there, with his gangly legs flying all over the place as he struggled to keep up with Oldham defender Riche Byrne.

But suddenly, with a quick burst of pace from the lanky centre back, he beat Byrne to the ball and with the outside of his boot, and all the class of Bergkamp or Henry (slight exaggeration!) lobbed Crossley from just inside the area.

The move, and goal, summed County’s second half up to a tee. Passing and moving, spraying it about with ease.

The County fans applauded and cheered every pass from then on, as the ill feeling from earlier on evaporated into the air.

The final whistle went, and jubilant County fans applauded every player, all of whom had played sublime football in the second half.

Gary Dicker was officially named MOTM, but take your pick! Raynes, Dicker, Rowe, Thompson, McNulty, Turnbull.

As people remarked on the way out of Edgeley Park – County had rolled back the years on the night. A flawless 2nd-half performance gave County their first three points at home this season. And there was even a ‘good old-fashioned’ scrap! Whether you agree with the scrapping or not, this was a great night for Stockport County with an electric atmosphere.


3 Replies to “Superb Hatters Stun Oldham”

  • What a night! The fighting did get a bit over the top, but it was a great night over all! Nobody takes the Cheadle End. 😉

  • I just love Friday night is County night. Friday night is fight night though is perhaps going a bit too retro! Hope the Oldham fans who are a bit sore this morning learn from this lesson. It’s not big and its not clever. lol

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